If I told you to hum the Route 209 would you get it right?

Here at TGAM it is well documented that we are fans of the Pokémon series of games. Massive fans. Huge. There are literally not enough words in this sentence to even scratch the surfaceof the thousands of words, hundreds of articles, thoughts, webcomics, fan fiction, sillyness, nerd rages and forum comments that we've made in the past about Nintendo's Marmite monster catching game (actually there are. There are enough words. Too many if truth be told).

But what we never explained is that for the last 13 years we've been playing the game that revolves around trading and fighting Pokémon with opponents in a total vacuum. We've spent days worth of hours training up Pokémon that have never been tested against a single real live opponent. So not only is the whole activity all a bit sad, geeky, weird, embarrassing in social situations, something we should have grown out of/never got into in the first place, not meant for us, a grind, a way of wasting money ever couple of years but it has all been utterly pointless. Until now....


Let it be known that at the end of August, TGAM, Richie and Cunzy1 1 will be partaking in an epic duel to the death, 6 vs 6, Pearl vs Diamond. The term epic is banded around the internet rather carelessly but this battle has been more than ten years in the making and thousands of hours of effort. We've have been spending the last remaining weeks before this battle training up teams of 6 level 100s to match up against each other.

Most of our time has been spent on the elusive task of “Effort Value training” and for those of you who don’t know, simply defeating certain types of Pokémon will contribute to the stats of the Pokémon. If you care, there are countless websites everywhere.

Right now we are actually in the middle of a contrition war of analysing specifically which Pokémon/moves the other will be using. It’s rather fun actually.

For those of you who don't know, (how?) Pokémon started off on the Gameboy, it is essentially just a jRPG but instead of a tream of pre-rolled classes you go out into the world. and catch your team of Pokémon and train them up. The plot of the game(s) are essentially to run through the game, thwarting the plans of a generic evil company who are using Pokémon as tools rather than pitching them in fights with one and other caring for them. Once you do that you take part in a one on one tournament and get deemed the "champion". However this is FAR from the end of the game, once you have done this, you now have the opportunity to try and "catch 'em all", all 493. and from these 493 Pokémon you can then decide to train some up for competitive play. Which is pretty much what me and Cunzy have been doing for the last couple of years, no reason, we don't take place in world tournaments, We don't play Battle revolution online (yet). We have mainly been training up Pokémon for an inevitable clash.

For many gamers Pokémon is a love/hate franchise and players are put off by the cutesy appearance of characters and the shameless marketing aimed at children who demand Pokémon merchandise from parents who don't understand the Pokémon universe or how it all works. If it was this simple, then sure we would be the first to snarkly scorn Nintendo. The truth is, the merchandise fluff aside, is that the RPG at the heart of the series is actually quite deep. Constructing a team of Pokémon is no mean feat it is not as simple as just catching the best six and having an unbeatable team. The mechanics of the game are quite complex here is a quick run off of things that contribute to the meta game:

  • Catching and Hatching the bloody things in the first place. There a 493 of the buggers and almost as many different ways you have to go about getting them. Some you find roaming around in the wild. Others you have to buy and complete a whole separate game on a completely different console to get.
  • Each Pokémon is different. Interspecific variation is the obvious way in which pokémon vary but intraspecific variation needs careful consideration if you are breeding for battles or contests. Once you've taken into account gender, level, nature, individual values (a pokémon's genetic identity), movesets, abilities, egg moves, type, colour, EV training, growth rates and item combinations, there are infinite variations.
  • Types. Mentioned above, the type system is best described, if we were fans of using the term "on acid" as paper, scissors, stone on acid. Each pokémon has one or two types and can have up to four moves, each of which has it's own type. There are thirteen types in total. So fire is super effective against grass. It does twice the amount of damage. Grass is super effective against water and water is super effective against grass. Simple right? Except when dual types come into play. Each type matches up differently with other types and attacks are boosted if used by a pokémon of that type. Also, some types are completely immune to other types and on top of all this some pokémon have abilities which affect or negate any bonuses or hindrances that might come from move types. If you are finding this hard to follow, good this is some indication of how complicated and tricky it can get putting a team together or worse, trying to anticipate the kind of team an opponent might put together and how your team might match up against it.
  • Training. Unlike, the jolly life affirming exploits in the anime training in true RPG fashion is a fucking grind and requires some careful planning, occasionally luck and a smidgen of skill. The level cap for Pokémon is level 100. Pokémon can be caught in the wild from levels 2-100 or you can get two pokémon to mate to produce an egg once that egg is hatched you end up with a level 1 pokémon. Leveling a pokémon is a simple case of battling against wild pokémon or pokémon owned by an AI trainer. Leveling a pokémon to level 100 takes hours but is quite easily accomplished. Leveling a pokémon to level 100 when every aspect of it's training has been taken into account from before it's even hatched (natures and movesets are affected by the parents) to when it dings 100 (its final moveset and its EVs) is a huge undertaking. Various items are available to make this process easier but you have to locate those items in the first instance. To get a team of six of these hand reared monsters is a mission.

But enough mechanics, so far we have set some rules for the grand clash:

1. No Legendary Pokémon. (Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo, Mew etc.)

2. No Cheaty Pokémon. (Blissey, Milotic, Lucario, Wobbuffet)

3. No Cheaty combinations (Skarmbliss etc. etc.)

4. No Duplicate held Items. (i.e. you cant have a team with 6 leftovers)

5. No Evasion/Accuracy moves.


To Be Continued...

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